Some of the most memorable learning happens outside the classroom. Students in the NDSU School of Nursing and the NDSU School of Pharmacy paired up to join St. Francis de Sales Church in Moorhead, Minnesota, during their 25th Anniversary Celebration to provide a Community Health Fair on September 12.
Through the Community Health Course at NDSU School of Nursing, students collaborate and engage with community members in all aspects of care.
“Screening is public health intervention that is at its utmost importance when addressing population health,” said Nancy Turrubiates, assistant professor of practice and clinical coordinator in the NDSU School of Nursing. Turrubiates and Dr. Elizabeth Skoy in the NDSU School of Pharmacy served as primary preceptors for the event.
During the health fair, nursing students offered the community members services such as screenings for blood pressure, heights, weights, and health education. Pharmacy students performed cholesterol and blood sugar screenings. All services were provided at no cost. Students were also able to provide referrals as needed to the Community Health Service Inc.
“Every patient that I encountered was very eager to learn about the values we got from testing their blood, as well as ways to improve their values,” said pharmacy student Shannon Semenko. “I was able to apply my knowledge of appropriate glucose and cholesterol levels and how patients can improve their numbers. I also learned that a lot of patients are unaware of appropriate levels and many of them don’t have a doctor that they see regularly.”
Nursing student Abigail Flaa said such events are important.
“We adapted our health education toward the needs of the community. From this community-engaged activity, we learned how important health screenings are in health prevention and early identification of disease,” said Flaa. “Two of the biggest reasons that community outreach events are important are to allow for the building of relationships between healthcare professionals and the identification of health concerns in a community.”
Alyssa Carmichael, NDSU Pharmacy student, said they gained additional skills through the event. “These types of events are important because we are growing our communication and cultural skills as students,” explained Carmichael.
“I applied my skills by performing blood cholesterol and blood sugar checks. I used the skills I learned in the classroom, like how to properly perform a finger stick, and how to relay their lab data in patient-friendly language,” said Carmichael.
She also noted the importance of watching translators talk with participants and engage in conversation that increased participants’ understanding and comfort level by interacting in their primary language.
Sara Thompson, assistant professor of practice in NDSU Pharmacy Practice, served as one of the translators at the event.